Laura Shumaker: One of the Sisterwritereaters

Posted on May 14, 2017 at 7:57 am

I am so proud to have an essay (about cookies) in Sisterwritereaters, the marvelous new book of essays about women and food, and so lucky to be a part of the extraordinary group of wise, funny, and smart group of contributors. Laura Shumaker, who also wrote about cookies (really, the topic is endlessly interesting), has another story about cookies on her blog, and kindly allowed me to share it.

When I was in the 4th grade, I took a cooking class with my friend Linda, which was dangerous because whenever we were together we giggled uncontrollably with little provocation. Linda and I both had serious face altering braces and wore our hair in pigtails tied with fluorescent yarn.

The first assignment was baking chocolate chip cookies. The ingredients– butter, sugar, eggs, vanilla, baking soda, salt and chocolate chips– were lined up on the formica counter of the kitchen of our school cafeteria in the order they were to be used.

Linda and I worked the assignment together, giggling like always as we scooped the flour and sugar from one gallon bins with metal measuring cups, leveling them off with a knife for precision.

“No licking,” said the instructor sternly as we scooped the batter on to the cookie sheets. We baked the cookies as instructed for 8 minutes. I remember thinking that they looked perfect, but didn’t smell like the cookies that I baked at home with my mom.

After the prescribed 5 minuted cooling time, Linda and I sampled the cookies simultaneously–then spit-sprayed them out. They were not just salty, they were salt cookies.

We had confused the sugar bin with the salt bin.

“What a waste,” I heard the instructor say under her breath. “Spoiled brats.” Did she think we did it on purpose?

I felt terrible, but I couldn’t stop laughing, and neither could Linda. It can really hurt when you can’t stop laughing when you know you need to.


I started to cry when I told my mom the story, and was relieved to see her stifling laughter. She told me I’d feel much better if I wrote the cooking instructor a note of apology, that it was also the right thing to do and that of course I should always be respectful. Even when cooking instructor makes the obvious mistake of putting salt in a one gallon bin right next to the sugar.

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